“Why complain when we can act? Why loathe, since dislike destroys, when that perceive desire inspires and converts our mettles? ”
– Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, Magnificat July 2020
Until recently, debate fueled my ardour and challenged my geniu. As a kid, I basked being right. It was the highest honor to achieve in conversation. And so I expanded in college, even when I was the only student who carried a particular opinion in class. One happen comes to mind.
“Jeannie, tell the class why you think maids should become priests.” My moral theology prof, Dr. Loving, called me out unusually during one of his castigates. I delayed, because I wasn’t expecting a question in the middle of class. It wasn’t Dr. Loving’s usual M.O. He pressed me by reproducing such statements, and I could feel every student’s noses on me, expectantly awaiting my answer.
Maybe they didn’t know what to say, either. Maybe they were relieved he’d been selected to kept me on the spot so I could either agree with his view or refute it. I knew what he said was draped in hypocrisy.” Please tell the class why you think women should become pastors .” Dr. Loving obligated his first mistake by presuming this was my stance on the question. But it wasn’t.
I ultimately replied,” I’ve never said I belief dames should become pastors. I don’t believe it .”
Dr. Loving was taken aback, and I hear a collective rustle( breath ?) among my peers. He was hoping I’d piggyback off of his chide, but I cut through it and told him how it was — my honest opinion.
That’s how your best friend have always described me.” What you see is what you get with Jeannie ,” they’d say. At the time, I didn’t take it as a kudo. It announced more like sarcasm or annoyance. As duration legislated, I wore this transparency badge proudly. Even today, I believe in truth.
But I too believe in charity. And it is charity that immensely, sorely, deficiencies in our world today — and even in the Church.
I can’t hop on the internet, chat with a neighbor about a volume, or engage in lively discourse with a family member without someone immediately claiming the defensive. It is wearisome, drain, and discouraging.
That’s why quotes such as the one from Elisabeth Leseur resonate with me these days. I hope it speaks to you the working day. She is encouraging the book to spend his or her day tolerating God to transform the heart. That is where honesty converges charity — in the human heart.
I think it’s important that we producing our deep-seated hurts, dissensions, campaigns, and even long-standing estrangements firstly to the Holy Spirit. In the past year, I have cried for the goodnes of humility, that I might investigate myself more honestly and approaching others with greater empathy. And now, everyone is pushing to have their voices heard by employing more unseemly communication than everyone else who gets a huge platform.
The true-life skill of rhetoric has faded. What has superseded it is word vomit — a modicum of thoughtless, selfish ramblings.
We have to get back to investing in genuine concern for our neighbors( and antagonists) before conversing with them about any hot-button issue. I’ve chosen to be more purposeful about speaking less about trite topics and listening more.
Why complain? Why detest?
We can query ourselves the working day, this coming week, for the Holy Spirit to infuse in us true regenerating and a greater love. This enlivens us to listen to one who is angry. This is also what converts us to recognize our own biases and strong emotive responses.
image: Baptistery of Saint John in Florence, Italy by Tupungato/ Shutterstock.com.
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